Campus Life, Lifestyle

Preparation for the incoming summer of hopeful chaos

Last week’s bout of warm weather was a grand reminder that sunshine exists and summer is creeping upon us. People were prancing around in shorts, wearing their favorite spring clothing and clustering around the grassy patches on campus. It was wonderful.

boats and houses in newburyport massachusetts
Newburyport, Massachusetts. Recent warm weather has instilled some hope of a return to normalcy during the summer. HANNAH YOSHINAGA/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

We absolutely needed this warm reminder — especially as we reached one year since the global shutdown — and we appreciate the weather now more than ever. With the profound hope surrounding the vaccine and the newly increased amount of daylight, I have some dreams and demands for the incoming summer.

This summer, I do not want to get weekly notifications that my phone screen time is up. I do not want to hear the phrase “our new normal” in emails. I do not want to shudder every time I watch a movie where a large group of people are unmasked and not socially distanced. In fact, I want to eventually forget the term “socially distanced.”

I want to replace “our new normal” with “back to normal,” or perhaps more accurately, “back to somewhat-kind-of-maybe normal.” I am sick of the “new normal.” New things are overrated.

I was scrolling through my camera roll a few days ago to try to get a sense of what things used to be like, but I can barely remember. It took a lot of scrolling to get to a point of real normalcy, with a lot of strange quarantine activities in between (making fruit friends, anyone…?).

It all seems luxurious, even just waiting mask-less in the underground Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority locations, where we might have always benefited from masks. I want to hear the screeching halt of the T without wearing a mask, wait in crowded lines without thinking twice, go to restaurants, dance in a workout studio and go to an event that doesn’t begin and end on Zoom.

I remember talking to a friend a year ago about how excited I was for summer because “everything would probably be normal then.” Around the same time, we wore plastic gloves on planes because masks were thought to be ineffective. How naive we were. My friend responded that she knew summer was a bust but was just “hopeful the Fall semester would be normal.” I was shocked she thought it would take that long. How naive I was.

But the hope for a normal summer has returned. Perhaps we soon won’t have to scroll back through hundreds of photos on our camera roll to catch a glimpse of what used to be. It will just “be.”

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